NICOLAS BOUVIER (1929 – 1998)

Travelling is not an innocent activity (…) But all who have had this existence would give a finger of each hand to find it again someday: it is an experience of which one never recovers.

Nicolas Bouvier

Born in 1929 in Grand Lancy, close to Geneva, Nicolas Bouvier was one of the first travel-authour and iconography. After university, he decided to leave for the longest journey of his life - from Geneva to Sri Lanka - which he will later tell in L’Usage du Monde and Le Poisson-Scorpion. Without having the idea of coming back, he will conduct its Fiat Topolino on the roads of Asia (Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India…) until the sea stops him in Sri Lanka. In his first book L’Usage du Monde, Nicolas Bouvier develops this "journey that makes you" and that one would love to continue indefinitely without ever returning, while in his novel Le Poisson-Scorpion, he tells the end of his long journey where the disease, hostility, madness and death was waiting at every street corner.

From Sri Lanka, Nicolas Bouvier goes to Japan where he will continue his trip for two years. Then, four months after his return to Switzerland, he meets Eliane Petitpierre who will make him write joining in the Bouvier family.

Forty years later, Nicolas Bouvier is buried in the cemetery of Cologny, near the house where Eliane lives. Father and son of two sons and of a dozen books that make him one of the greatest travel-writers of our time, he is also the spiritual father of all those who took the road with his stories in his pocket.


L’Usage du monde, Droz, 1963
Chronique japonaise, L’Âge d’homme, 1975
Le Poisson-scorpion, Gallimard, 1982
Le Dehors et le Dedans, Zoé, 1982
Journal d’Aran et d’autres lieux, Payot, 1990
Routes et déroutes, Métropolis, 1992
Le Hibou et la Baleine, Zoé, 1993
Histoire d’une image, Zoé, 2001
Ouvres complètes, Quarto Gallimard, 2004

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